History of Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe (RTP) and Thermoplastic Composite pipe (TCP)

RTP pipe and RTP machinery lihe system- Initially developed in the early 1990s by Wavin Repox, Akzo Nobel and by Tubes d'Aquitaine from France, who developed the first pipes reinforced with synthetic fibre to replace medium pressure steel pipes in response to growing demand for non-corrosive conduits for application in the onshore oil and gas industry, particularly from Shell in the Middle East.

Because of its expertise in producing pipes, Pipelife Netherlands was involved in the project to develop long length RTP in 1998. The resulting system is marketed today under the name SoluForce. More recently the technology of producing such pipe, including the marketing, rests with a few key companies.

To be able to withstand high pressures, a reinforcement layer was added to the flexible thermoplastic pipe. Hence the name 'Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe', or RTP.

Thermoplastic composite pipe (TCP) and thermoplastic composite pipe machinery


TCP pipe concept started in the '1980s. One prominent development was made in France by Institute Francais de Petrole (IFP) and Composite Aquitaine who developed a small diameter thermoplastic pipe for the choke and kill lines. These were discrete pipes in which a steel inner pipe was overwrapped with thermoplastic composite.

In the '1990s there was a next wave of composite pipe development and specific conferences were initiated, like the CMOO-series (Composite Materials for Offshore Operations). The first conference in 1993 for example had almost 400 pages of projects on composite developments! Another area of interest in the '90s was the development of thermoset spoolable composite pipe. Two applications were envisaged, being composite coiled tubing to be used inside the well and small diameter flowlines.

Frontrunners were companies such as Fiberspar (US), Hydril (US) and Compipe (Norway). The brittleness of the thermoset material proved to be problematic: when a pipe is bent, micro-cracks are formed and these give issues when the pipe is used inside the well, where temperatures and pressures are high. Fiberspar emerged as a leading supplier in spoolable onshore composite pipe and developed into a commercially successful company.

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